To celebrate Independent Bookstore Day, Bill and I walked over to our beloved local indie, BookPeople. In existence since 1970, the current store is located at the corner of Lamar and Sixth Street. With the nearby Whole Foods, Waterloo Records, 24 DinerCounter Cafe, and Amy’s Ice Cream, this area is a fun destination and an easy one-mile walk from our apartment.


Fiction, mystery, history, cooking, travel, and a few other genres are located on the first floor of BookPeople. There’s also a decent-sized coffeeshop in the back corner. Shelves are generally arranged alphabetically by author within genre. Staff recommendations are identified with review cards. Friendly employees are always ready to help to search for a book.


The second floor includes other non-fiction categories such as religion, music, and art. Half of this floor is dedicated to a wonderful children’s area. Story hours are scheduled several times a week in a small amphitheater decorated with the words “WHAT HAPPENS IN STORYTIME…STAYS IN STORYTIME.” And how can you not love a bookstore with a Keeping Austin Weird section?


BookPeople hosts numerous author talks and book signings throughout the year. A few weeks ago, I listened to Kabir Sehgal, author of Coined: The Rich Life of Money And How Its History Has Shaped Us. Bill saw science-humorist Mary Roach and returned home with signed copies of most of her books.


The stairway to the second floor is crowded with photographs of authors who have visited BookPeople. Rachael Ray, Hillary Clinton, and Jimmy Carter have all been here in recent years.


The store also sells magazines, greeting cards, and unique gifts. But their main focus is books. Several book clubs meet here monthly, and their calendar often includes writing workshops and panel discussions. BookPeople certainly lives up to their slogan: “A Community Bound by Books.”

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